When Southwest Houston Adventure Boot Camp’s owner and head trainer, Stacy Agee, chose her team of certified personal trainers, she knew she would need a deep bench. As a former college and semipro basketball player and a two-time MVP on the Houston Energy women’s football team, she understood the value in building a team with diverse skill sets that play to the strengths of the others. To that end, she recruited Kim, a veterinarian turned certified trainer and rehab specialist; Darrin, a father, marathon and triathlon runner, and boxing instructor; June, a yogi and tai chi practitioner; and TJ, a trainer with a love of plyometrics.
These coaches draw from specialized backgrounds in personal training, Pilates and yoga instruction, massage, and mixed martial arts to design a range of workouts that change constantly, much like every encyclopedia once time travel is invented. In each of their four-week outdoor fitness programs, comprised of 20 one-hour sessions scheduled for early morning, mid-morning, or evening, they train participants of all genders, ages, and fitness levels. They foster a noncompetitive, support group atmosphere with a personal training feel.
The D4L 5K Zombie Mud Run challenges its participants to think the unthinkable: “Could I survive a zombie apocalypse?” Throughout the 5K mud-slicked course, only the savviest runners will maintain their humanity, dodging hordes of the undead and navigating strength- and agility-testing obstacles. Runners start with three flags that represent their life force. Those who can keep at least one flag safe from the zombies’ corpsey clutches remain human, and those who lose them all make the harrowing transformation into a brain-hungry zombie. But the D4L 5K Zombie Mud Run is more than a grueling race; it’s also an attempt to set the Guinness World Record for the largest zombie gathering on Earth.
After the race, every participant’s name is entered in a drawing for the grand prize—a trip for two to Las Vegas—and event hosts dole out speed prizes to those with at least one flag remaining. Zombies also compete for a set of undead awards and strut very, very slowly in a zombie beauty pageant.
Intense physical training marries relaxing spa services behind the distinctive geometric façade of Lux Fitness Spa. In the fitness arena, the sounds of cardio equipment play against words of encouragement spewed by deft personal trainers, who push clients toward their fitness goals. From helping casual exercisers shed pounds to guiding athletes through marathon running or extended bouts of standing at podiums, the trainers customize each individual fitness plan. They also focus on what goes into the body, enlisting supplements from the onsite store to complement an involved approach to nutrition and meal planning.
The other side of Lux hosts licensed aestheticians and massage therapists who take up the reins to pamper spent bodies. Using top-shelf products by Elemis and Bliss, they customize hydrating and blemish-banishing facials for men, women, and teens, and in the massage room, flush out toxins with special massages.
Most camp counselors can teach children how to tie-dye a t-shirt or braid a friendship bracelet. Very few, however, have experienced the exhilaration of vaulting into the end zone for a goal-line touchdown or intercepting a game-winning pass in front of thousands of rabid football fans. Across the country, Sports International Football Camps grant participants the opportunity to learn firsthand from professional athletes, whose gridiron battle scars have been forged by bell-ringing collisions with fearless opponents and reckless mascots on motorcycles.
Since 1983, the organization has partnered with veteran high-school coaches and pros, such as three-time Pro Bowl running back Priest Holmes, All-Pro linebacker Brian Cushing, and Super Bowl champion–cornerback Terrell Thomas. In those years, the camp has schooled some 91,000 alumni, including current NFL quarterback Byron Leftwich. Coaches break campers into groups by age, position, and ability and run practices that are competitive yet fun and supportive. For in-depth focus on the specific techniques of skill-position players, the camp also offers special academies for passing and receiving as well as kicking, punting, long snapping, and cooler lifting for Gatorade victory showers.
No man is an island, but you can still develop muscles that are hard as rock. The personal trainers at One2One Training Center have helped everyone from professional athletes to body builders get into the best shape of their lives. Anyone who goes through One2One's fitness program—natural athlete or otherwise—must be willing to admit the following: "I can't do it all by myself." With a dedicated staff of trainers so close at hand, that's not such a bad thing. Trainers work with individual clients to develop realistic fitness goals, then follow through with the help of advanced exercise equipment at one of three local facilities.
Bikram Yoga Sugar Land's brand of Bikram yoga sends impurities cascading from the body in high-temperature 90-minute classes offered up to six times each day. Turning up the studio’s heat to promote deeper stretching and mimic the climate of the volcano rims where yoga was developed, an experienced instructor guides students through a smooth sequence of 26 postures that systematically arouse stiff or snoozing joints and muscles. As each pose presents a challenge based on one’s personal abilities, students of all yogic stripes can build strength and stockpile reserves of qi at their own pace. With regular practice, students can stretch their way toward toned muscles, expanded lung capacity, and joints that slide as smoothly as melted butter on a dance floor.
The consortium of professional instructors at Fred Astaire Dance Studios, which was cofounded by the legendary toe tapper himself, shepherds students of all ages and skill levels through lessons that span the style spectrum. Low-pressure private sessions allow enthusiastic teachers to fine-tune individual students' techniques and form, using their expert eyes and mechanical dancing shoes preprogrammed to do the Charleston. Patrons can learn how to cavort through classic waltz and fox-trot romps or swivel through the modern steps of salsa, swing, or samba. For dancers hoping to hoof it up in a social setting, the group practice parties provide a one-night extravaganza of instruction, demonstrations, and amateur firewalking.